No Place Like Home

When I graduated in December, I had to make some decisions about what came next. Justin and I talked it over and decided that we really, really wanted to see where the model horse hobby could take us. I've been working from home for three months now, and most of the time it's fantastic. There are challenges, those days when the studio vibe is off, or when getting out of bed is really, really


. Here are five things I've learned in my first three months working from home.

1. Set studio hours.

This sounds like a no brainer, but I have several friends who have worked from home full or part time. I've learned from their experience that it's so easy to let work bleed into home time. Setting hours keeps you accountable during your work day and helps build boundaries between work and home life.

My studio hours are from 9-4, with some wiggle room on either end. Sometimes I make it into the studio earlier, but I always knock off at 5. That way I can do some tidying up and start dinner before Justin gets home around 6.

You have to get up, even when the cat is comfy.

2. Treat it like a job.

Once you have studio hours, follow them! Get up, shower, and do whatever you need to do to feel ready to take on the day. Lately, that's been doing my hair, wearing a pair of simple earrings, and putting on my shoes. I don't know what it is, but wearing shoes - even if it's just my knock-off Toms - makes me so much more ready to go. Working in PJs just doesn't cut it - I learned that from my years as a home school student. Oh, and make your bed. Seriously.

If you can have a dedicated studio space, awesome. If not, try to find a way to differentiate the-space-when-it's-work from the-space-when-it's-home. I've found the mental shift to be valuable in keeping my focus.

3. Find your rhythm.

I don't try to be militant about it, because what's the fun of working from home if you can't be flexible? I do try to some things in a certain order; I catch up on email and paperwork while I eat breakfast, then I take a look at what needs to be done today, etc. Having a pattern to follow helps keep my brain on track.

4. Take a lunch (and mean it).

Take a lunch break - and take it away from your studio space. I've found this especially important if the morning has been a struggle. Go sit outside, read a book, eat your sandwich, and don't think about work until you come back down. Set a timer to keep you away from the studio (or remind you to go back to it) if you need to.

5. Don't try to do too many things at once.

When studio hours are in effect, let them be the most important thing. I work in the finished basement of our townhouse, right next to the washer and dryer. The temptation to try to do household chores during studio hours (Oh, this leather needs to dry! I'll just go do some laundry/empty the dishwasher/dust the house) is really strong, but I always ended up frustrated. It's just too hard for me to divide my attention; household chores and studio work alike end up suffering for it.

So there are five things I've learned so far! If you have a hobby business selling tack, painting models, or making props, what have you found most helpful in keeping the studio rolling?